An Abundance of Talent Surrounds Artists’ Gallery Sunriver


((Left) Artists’ Gallery Sunriver purposefully offers “something for everyone.” (Right) Artists’ Gallery Sunriver is structured as a coop. with 31 current members | Photos courtesy of Andrea Hine)

Celebrating its 14th anniversary this year, one factor remains constant in explaining the continued success of Artists’ Gallery Sunriver — “the great quality of our artists.” As one of three original partners, Bonnie Junnel added that “there is such talent around this area, which has allowed us to broaden the scope of what’s being displayed, as well as expand our customer base into Bend, La Pine, and surrounding areas. We offer something for everyone — from fine crafts to fine arts.”

As another original partner was quoted as saying: “I think the diversity of art here is what makes our clientele keep coming back.”

Another factor is the space itself, “which also keeps evolving,” Junnel said, “from how the gallery looked in 2010 to how it looks in 2024. Artists’ Gallery Sunriver definitely has the appearance of a fine arts gallery, yet hasn’t lost its friendly, welcoming atmosphere, and wide range of price points. This matters not only to customers, but also to our artists, who want to be in a great-looking gallery.”

Artists’ Gallery Sunriver is structured as a coop, with 31 current members. Upon joining, as previous partner Karla Proud explained, “everyone has to join one of our committees — based on their professional strengths. “Committees are responsible for everything from advertising and public relations to obtaining donated food and drink, maintenance, supplies, calendar updates, and event planning. Everything necessary for efficient operations is covered — it’s truly a cooperative. Everyone pitches in.”

In terms of reimbursement, she continued, “while the gallery takes a percentage of each sale, the portion going to members is generous, and gives them an incentive — as well as enabling them to afford needed supplies such as yarn, paint and gemstones for their art. Members also pay a portion of the rent.”

Jim Fister, a wood artist whose work has long been displayed at Artists’ Gallery Sunriver, and who now partners with Junnel, agreed with her that “the community has really supported us from the beginning. We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the locals.” (This is not to denigrate visitors, who account for a significant percentage of sales.)

“We continue to nurture the community,” said Fister. “We love them, and want to be as much of an asset as possible.” He cited examples such as Locals Night at the gallery, and helping to start the annual Food and Wine Festival, now in its second year, that features art displays and demonstrations along with an array of other events.”

For the past three years, Artists’ Gallery Sunriver has also curated the Betty Gray Art Gallery, located in Sunriver Resort’s main lodge, which Fister described as “a fellowship art space showcasing local talent.”

But there’s more. Artists’ Gallery runs an annual youth challenge, also in its third year, that solicits art from young people ages 4-12 throughout the tri-county area, based on a pre-selected theme. “We usually attract 50-75 entries,” said Fister, “from which the top 10-15 are selected and displayed at a special art exhibit. It’s not hard to imagine their joy when seeing the art they have created hung up and for sale.”

And, Fister added, “some of the art is fantastic. You don’t see as much art and music in the schools as before. It’s up to us to advance the art of today and tomorrow.”


About Author

Leave A Reply